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The Causes of Happiness

November 3, 2015

Inspired by a recent Buddha Shakyamuni Empowerment and teaching at Nagarjuna Center in Leicester over the weekend I decided to try and tuck back into a regular practice of daily Lamrim using the Meditation Handbook. I decided once more to begin by gently absorbing the introduction and background teachings from the beginning of the book as my first meditations. Its such a happiness and a luxury to take time over those precious words which really establish the basis for successful practice.

As so often is the case I discovered a jewel i’d overlooked on previous visits, right on the first page is a quote from Shantideva:

“Although they wish for happiness
Out of ignorance they destroy it like a foe”

It stopped me in my tracks… Here am I, a person with many years of exposure to Buddha’s teachings and yet how little conscious effort I apply to engage with his advice on the causes of happiness. Instead I do all the things that destroy or run down the cause of happiness, out of attachement, aversion or ignorance I act on the belief that objects/things/people/circumstance/food/friends/music/movies/sleep…..themselves have the power to bestow happiness or pain. But as Geshe-la explains a few paragraphs later:

“Problems, suffering and unhappiness do not exist outside the mind; they are feelings and thus part of the mind. Therefore it is only by controlling our mind that we can permanently stop our problems and make our self and others truly happy”

I am just like the person Shantideva describes. Realising that, I made a strong determination to consciouslyIMAG0056 create the causes of happiness as explained by Buddha. Below is a little checklist I gave myself of things I would try to do with a conscious determination each day; knowing they are all practices which work directly on the mind to increase happiness and goodness.

  1. Practice moral discipline – be honest, refrain from actions that harm others, keep the promises and commitments I make
  2. Appreciate the value of each moment of life – this fleeting and transitory collection which briefly appears as “me” in this world with all the opportunities that gives quickly passes “like lightning in the sky” so instead of trying to hold on to it, cherish and exploit the chances it now gives.
  3. Cherish others, cultivate my natural instinct to love by recognizing there is no difference between my heart or that of stranger, we both wish for happiness, to be free from suffering. And others are so kind -without others we would have nothing, not clothes, not food, not even our body
  4. Receive blessings by generating faith in holy beings. Buddhas are the embodiment of the perfection of wisdom and compassion they are the manifestation of the potential for all that is good and perfect in the universe. Simply by thinking of them with faith enables their blessing to have great power in transforming our mind and experiences so that we move closer to them.
  5. Accumulate merit and purify mistakes. This means to practice generosity by giving love, fearlessness and material things, rejoicing in others happiness and good fortune whilst strongly regretting previous harmful thoughts and actions.

From → Fundamental

  1. Estela permalink

    Thank you for this post. I appreciate your honesty, it is very refreshing and encouraging to find people with a similar daily checklist for happiness!!!!

    • Thanks Estela, it’s really good to get feedback. Good luck with your checklist – let me know how it goes 🙂

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